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  • 1.  Visiting Artists

    Posted 02-23-2023 09:06 AM


    I work at a living history museum and we'd love to offer adult, hands-on artist classes focusing on things like blacksmithing, pottery, textile art, etc. Because we are a small staff and not experts in everything, we'd like to pursue collaborations with local artists who could come in and teach classes. 

    I'm looking for examples from other museums on how they handle this. When you have guest artists come in for a workshop, do they purchase/provide all materials? Is the museum responsible for all marketing and registration? Who sets the registration cost? How are the profits split between the museum and the artist? And how do you vet artists – do they submit an application to teach, how much of a syllabus do they provide in advance, etc.? 

    It goes without saying that I'm an education staff of one wearing many hats, so having an easy, time effective system for this new endeavor is essential! Any examples, tips, and advice are much appreciated. Thanks in advance!

    Claire E. Gwaltney

    Director of Engagement and Visitor Services

    Heritage Hill State Historical Park

    Green Bay WI

    Claire Gwaltney
    Director of Visitor Engagement
    Heritage Hill State Historical Park
    Green Bay WI

  • 2.  RE: Visiting Artists

    Posted 02-24-2023 06:30 AM

    From what I can remember, we offer the artists a certain amount for their teaching services.  We pay for supplies, do marketing and set the price of the workshop and handle registration.  The profits went to us as we set a certain amount flat that we were to pay the artist.  I can't remember how we vetted them.  

    Evelyn Fidler
    Assistant Director of Heritage Resources
    Kings Landing Corporation
    New Brunswick, Canada

  • 3.  RE: Visiting Artists

    Posted 02-24-2023 09:50 AM
    Hi, Claire - my first suggestion would be to connect with an adult ed program in your municipality or nearby.  You may need to hire someone first to see your site to be sure you have adequate space and facilities.  Pottery and smithing will require much more than painting and drawing, for example.  And insurance! Then, I would contact historic sites that do this already.  The Noah Webster House in West Hartford, CT did some (I haven't been involved in years, so my intel might be outdated) at one point ... weaving, small carpentry, etc.

    Anything that either requires one session, or can be carried to and from the classes (if on-going) is going to be a lot easier to manage, at least initially.

    Good Luck.